trappings of a perfectly ghostly evening.
On Halloween night, they gave out police coloring books, junior police
badges and pounds and pounds of candy to the neighborhood kids who
I thought it would be fun to pass out apples to the kids instead of
just candy, so I arranged for donations to cover the cost of the apples.
I dressed up as Swampy the Clown and Vic accompanied me dressed in tux
and top hat.
We handed out 200 apples the first year we offered them. It wasn't
just the kids who wanted those apples. Teenagers ate them right on the
spot. Men just off work from minimum wage jobs asked if they could have
one. Mothers were grateful to see fruit go into the trick-or-treat bags
instead of just sweets. We were surprised at how much people appreciated
a simple piece of fruit.
Imagine paying for housing, clothing your children and feeding a
family on the income from one or two minimum wage jobs. There's not much
money left over. Consequently, some families can't afford Halloween
costumes or candy. While many kids had great get-ups, some kids merely
draped a cloth around their shoulders and put on some lipstick. Some had
no costume at all. But every one of them had a bright twinkle in their
eye as we filled their bags with candy.
Each year, the substation drew more and more children as word of the
fun spread. We volunteers hoped we were helping to build better
relationships between the police department and the people in the Oakview
Two years ago, about 500 kids visited the substation on Halloween --
more than we could comfortably handle. Because the crowd had outgrown the
location, Sgt. Janet Perez of the Huntington Beach Police Department and
some volunteers had the great idea of building a haunted house at the
Oakview Community Center, sponsored by the police department and run by
Last year, Bill Meyer, Doug Blankenship and other volunteers built a
twisting maze-like corridor of lumber and black plastic. It was lit it
with strobe lights and featured dangling skulls that screamed and a